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U. of Michigan’s New Multicultural Center Gets $3M Boost


ANN ARBOR, Mich. ― A $3 million gift will help fund a new building at the University of Michigan’s main campus that will house the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center.

The funding from Mark Bernstein, a member of the Board of Regents, and his wife, Rachel Bendit, was announced at a board meeting Thursday.

The regents have approved naming the new building Bernstein-Bendit Hall. Groundbreaking for the building will be held in the fall.

“Rachel and I are honored to support the legacy of all who have advanced the enriching and empowering mission of Trotter since its founding ― the generations of U-M students who have been activists for diversity, and the current U-M students whose advocacy helped guide the vision for this new building,” Bernstein said in a statement. “Their movement inspires our gift.”

The new facility was approved by the regents at their December meeting. The Trotter Center ― named after William Monroe Trotter, who founded and edited a Boston newspaper, The Guardian, which was dedicated to the struggle for equal rights for Blacks – is currently off campus.

The Trotter Multicultural Center was created in 1971 as a place where all students can develop a better understanding and appreciation for the school’s multicultural diversity, according to the university.

“The first step in understanding people who might be different from yourself, or who you perceive as being different, is to have an opportunity to interact with them in an everyday situation,” said E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life at the school.

Bernstein earned his bachelor’s, law and master’s degrees from the university. Bendit earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s from Loyola University Maryland and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

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